Top cloud security concerns every business should address

Top cloud security concerns every business should address

If you believe that all of your data is safe because it is stored in the cloud, you may be in for a rude awakening. The cloud does have security advantages over traditional IT network infrastructures, but it comes with its own security vulnerabilities, and you share the burden of securing your data alongside your cloud provider.

Here are three of the top cloud security concerns you should be aware of as a business manager, and some best practices you can follow to address them.

Access control

Your cloud provider offers secure storage for your data, but they rely on you to control who can access it. You need to implement secure practices and leverage key security features to ensure bad actors don’t get unfettered access to your data.

Cloud access control best practices

  • Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) – MFA requires employees to provide more than just a password to access their data. This adds an extra layer of protection, making it significantly harder for cybercriminals to breach your systems. MFA can include verification options such as authentication codes, biometric sign-ons, physical keys, and/or one-time passcodes.
  • Implement identity and access management policies – Modern cloud software allows you to restrict access to certain databases or apps based on a user’s role or permissions. This "least privilege" approach minimizes the damage if an employee’s credentials are compromised, since attackers wouldn't have access to everything.
  • Keep an eye on who's accessing your data – Many cloud platforms and security tools allow you to monitor access to your cloud data. These tools can track who's accessing what, and even automatically generate reports. This enables you to identify any suspicious activity and adjust your security settings to keep your data safe.

Disaster recovery

While protecting against cyberthreats is a major concern, data security goes beyond that. Natural disasters or unexpected technical issues can also lead to data loss, even in the cloud. Without a proper disaster recovery (DR) plan and the right tools, recovering your data could take a long time — or worse, it could be impossible if the disaster takes down the cloud itself. Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize these risks.

Cloud-based disaster recovery best practices

  • Create a detailed DR plan – Your DR plan should cover all your vital systems as well as each employee and their role during a recovery operation. Also, be sure to set a clear recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) to shape your strategy around your company’s needs.
  • Test your DR plan – Stage regular mock recoveries to ensure that your DR plan works as it should. This also gives you the chance to identify any weak points and address them before a real disaster occurs.
  • Leverage geo-redundancy – Select a cloud provider that stores multiple redundant copies of your data across several different data centers. This way, if the region where your data is stored is hit with a disaster, the backups are ready to step in.

Data protection

Your data may be well protected while in the cloud, but before it gets there and even while it is on its way, your data is still at risk. Let’s take a look at some best practices you can use to protect your data while it is at rest (awaiting upload to the cloud) and in transit (while it is being uploaded).

Cloud data protection best practices

  • Use secure file transfer protocolsSecure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols encrypt data as it moves between your devices and the cloud so it can’t be read or modified by attackers.
  • Encrypt data – Use strong encryption standards such as AES-256 to protect your data from unauthorized access while it resides on local or cloud servers.
  • Implement data segregation – In a public cloud environment, your data might be stored alongside those of other users. Data segregation tools can isolate your data, creating a virtual barrier. This way, even if another user’s data is compromised, it won't affect yours.

Avoid a false sense of security

The cloud makes a lot of things easier, but that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and assume data security is handled. Contact a reliable IT company such as Complete Document Solutions to provide professional insight and guidance on securing your cloud infrastructure. Partner with us, and we’ll leverage our 30 years of experience to fully secure your systems so you can enjoy the benefits of cloud computing without worrying about the risks.

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